Hong Kong leader declares extradition bill ‘dead,’ but protesters persist

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam declared a controversial extradition bill “dead” after pressure from protests roiling the territory over the past month over fears of Beijing’s growing control.

Yet protesters remain resolute in their demands to have the bill, which would allow some suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial, withdrawn completely.

Pro-democracy protest leader Joshua Wong called Lam out on Twitter for being a “habitual liar” by deeming the bill dead when it hasn’t been formally withdrawn. 

[THREAD: Fed up with Carrie Lam's wordplay]

1. What #CarrieLam saying “the Bill is dead” is another ridiculous lie to the people of #HongKong and foreign media because the bill still exists in the ''legislative programme'' until July next year.

Demonstrators are also calling for a full investigation into aggressive tactics used by police against them. Lam has said the Independent Police Complaints Council will launch an investigation, but protesters want a judge-led commission of inquiry to be set up. 

Protesters press on: Beijing issues ominous warning after ‘atrocities,’ but Hong Kong protesters undeterred

Lam said she’s open to engaging with students in a dialogue to listen to their criticisms. Students from eight universities said they would speak with Lam only if she agreed to host a town-hall style open meeting and promise to exonerate activists, according to the South China Morning Post. 

A protest on Sunday, where tens of thousands chanted “Free Hong Kong,” is the latest in a series of demonstrations highlighting fears that mainland China will undermine certain freedoms granted to the former British colony in 1997. Last Monday, protesters stormed Hong Kong’s Legislative Council building, smashing through glass doors and spray-painting graffiti on walls. 

Opponents fear the extradition policy could target activists speaking out against China’s ruling Communist Party. 

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam pauses during a press conference in Hong Kong on July 9, 2019. (Photo: Vincent Yu, AP)

Looking ahead: What’s next for Hong Kong? Controversial extradition bill suspended, not scrapped

Lam acknowledged fears that there were “lingering doubts about the government’s sincerity or worries about whether it would seek to bring the legislation back for a vote” at a press conference on Tuesday. But she reiterated that “there is no such plan. The bill is dead.”

Opponents stood firm.

“We cannot find the word ‘dead’ in any of the laws in Hong Kong or in any legal proceedings in the Legislative Council,” protest leaders Jimmy Sham and Bonnie Leung said in statements in English and Cantonese.

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